Ice Dams on Your Roof

With all of the snow that has fallen and much more to hit Maple Ridge, Langley and the Fraser Valley in the forecast, I’d like to draw your attention to a potential roofing issue, commonly known in the Prairies as an Ice Dam.

When you get a significant snowfall on your roof and the temperatures drop sharply, roof problems begin to happen. For many homes these issues come in the form of ice dams that can cause significant damage and be costly to repair.

What is an ice dam?

Ice dams are a ridge of ice on the bottom edge of your roofline along your gutter. Ice dams may not look like an issue, but they actually lead to water leaks and moisture which can lead to mold in the attic. This ice holds pools of water that when left untouched can penetrate the shingles below.

How do ice dams form?

How Ice Dams form - Whonnock Roofing and GuttersSeveral factors come into play that a tribute to creating an ice dam. One is improper ventilation in your attic. When the attic it’s too hot and doesn’t release enough of the heat out of the vents in the roof heats up in the snow on top of the roof begins to melt quickly. The melted snow runs down to the gutters and re-freezes creating a dam. When enough ice accumulates at the gutters edge water can back up under your shingles and compromise your structure and leak into your house.

Ice Dams Whonnock Roofing and GuttersThe ice dams can also create enough weight on your gutters where they can pull bent down and damaged. Some damage from ice dams may not be immediately noticed. For example, roof and attic insulation could be getting wet over a long period of time and the insulation loses its effectiveness. In addition, mold may begin to grow in that moist attic environment.

Ways to avoid ice dams

Being proactive is the best way to avoid ice dams. Several things can be done including increasing attic ventilation, minimizing heat sources in the attic and adding insulation.

If you have damage and need an ice dam removed, it’s best to call a trusted roofing company that can handle it, without damaging the roof.

One of the best ways to avoid ice dams from developing is to remove the snow after a snow fall. From the ground, or a secure ladder, use a snow rake or broom and gently remove the snow 4 feet up from the gutters. Use caution not to scrape the shingles or pull on the gutter. By removing the snow as it accumulates, you remove the snow that would have normally melted and pooled at the gutter area.

If you feel uncomfortable with that, please don’t hesitate to call and we can do it for you. While on site, we can also check to make sure you have proper attic ventilation. This is a very common problem so please take a minute after reading this and make sure you do not have an ice dam forming on your roof.

Remember, we are only ever a phone call away to remediate these issues, should one arise! Stay safe and satay warm out there!